If you've been following the news recently, you might have heard about Sam Bankman-Fried, the FTX cryptocurrency exchange founder who has been indicted and is currently on bail for testing the limits of his $250 million bail package. The U.S. Department of Justice has now proposed a solution to ensure Bankman-Fried's communications are monitored while he awaits trial.
Proposal to Limit Communications
The proposal, which was filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, suggests that Bankman-Fried be allowed to have a flip phone with no internet capability and a basic laptop with limited functions. However, he would be forbidden from using any other electronic communication devices. The proposal requires approval from U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the case.
Concerns Over Unmonitored Communications
Judge Kaplan had previously expressed concerns over Bankman-Fried's use of electronic devices while on bail. He had even suggested that he might jail the 30-year-old for communicating in ways that could not be monitored. The judge had stated that he did not want to set Bankman-Fried "loose in this garden of electronic devices," especially after accusations that he had tried to contact possible government witnesses and had used a virtual private network to watch football.
Bankman-Fried's Current Situation
Bankman-Fried is currently living under house arrest with his parents, who are both professors at Stanford Law School, in Palo Alto, California. As part of the proposal, the parents have agreed to submit sworn affidavits stating that they will not bring any other electronic devices into their home or allow their son to use theirs. Additionally, each device will carry software that periodically takes videos or photos of the user, which court officers would be allowed to review.
Limited Electronics Allowed
While Bankman-Fried's defense team has not yet commented on the proposal, it is clear that the U.S. government is taking steps to ensure that the indicted cryptocurrency exchange founder does not have unmonitored communications while on bail. Allowing Bankman-Fried a flip phone with no internet capability and a basic laptop with limited functions seems like a reasonable compromise that will help ensure he remains within the bounds of his bail package.
This situation is a reminder that even those who are out on bail and awaiting trial are not free to use electronic devices as they please. The court can impose restrictions on their use, as is the case with Bankman-Fried. It is also important to note that while the restrictions may seem limiting, they are put in place to protect the integrity of the trial and ensure that justice is served. We will have to wait and see whether Judge Kaplan approves the proposal, but it is clear that the government is taking this matter seriously.
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